Most alcoholic beverages have very clear origins, both in history and in ingredients. Whiskey, for example, is made specifically from grains. And scotch we know specifically came from Scotland.
Vodka is different. Vodka can be created from a wide variety of ingredients. It is made from potatoes, grains, corn, sugar beets – even grapes. Potatoes and corn are the most common but different varieties of Vodka can be found almost anywhere. Vodka is made through a distillation process that removes most of its original flavors. True vodka has relatively no taste so that it can be added to almost any beverage.
To remove the taste and be left with pure vodka, it is distilled roughly six times and run through charcoal in order to remove the last of its flavor. This leaves the liquid clear, odorless and generally tasteless. It is actually law that vodka is not allowed to be called vodka unless it is completely indistinct in each of those areas.
The origin of vodka appears to be in Russia or Poland. In these languages, vodka means “water” because it was drunk with such ease and commonality that it may as well have been water. It was a Russian scientist that is credit for creating vodka of higher alcohol content.
Vodka was one of the first highly alcoholic beverages introduced to the western world. Before then, most alcohol came in the form of wines or beers that were generally a much lower proof.
Today, Vodka is commonly used in mixed drinks as a way to boost up the alcohol content of almost any beverage, while still maintaining the flavor. Although flavored vodkas do exist, most people buy standard, flavorless vodka and add it to their drinks so that they can get the kick of alcohol without having to change the taste of their beverage.